• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Poetry Comparison - 'Telephone Conversation' by Wole Soyinka and 'Ballad of the Landlord' by Langston Hughes.

Extracts from this document...


Poetry Comparison The two poems 'Telephone Conversation' by Wole Soyinka and 'Ballad of the Landlord' by Langston Hughes both focus on the issue of racism. Thus the poems have a similar theme but present the theme in a variety of different ways. The backgrounds of the poets tell us a lot about their intentions. Soyinka is a Nigerian who was raised as a Christian. He is also highly educated and went to two universities, one a Nigerian university the other an English university. His background shows he mingled into western society but he was never treated as an equal. Soyinka wrote political literature and was arrested for seizing radio stations and making a political broadcast about the fairness of the Nigerian elections. He was politically oppressed and his whole life has been a struggle. He often voiced his opinions on the Nigerian government and the racism he has experienced. His intentions are quite clearly shown in 'Telephone Conversation' where he illustrates a typical example of racism, possibly autobiographical, through the absurd reaction of the landlady. If he had gone to see the flat, the landlady would have lied and told him it was already taken so it would have been directly racist. ...read more.


The use of these words gives the poem more depth and individuality, which can fit nicely into the tempo of the poem. Both poets use many different poetic devices and their own style of writing in their poems. Soyinka uses enjambments often: "Silenced transmission of Pressurized good-breathing" This makes the poem flow and adds depth to the description by lengthening the line. Which is the same reason, Hughes uses enjambments in his poem: "When you come up yourself It's a wonder you don't fall down." But Hughes uses a forced structure of enjambment of appearing on the second line of every stanza, which makes the poem more rhythmic and jazzy. Hughes use a jazzy, musical style in his poem thus it is called 'Ballad of the Landlord'. By using structure enjambments and a rhyming pattern in the second and fourth lines of each stanza: "Landlord, landlord, My roof has sprung a leak. Don't you 'member I told you about it Way last week? He makes the poem flow like music and gives it a beat and tempo. Hughes makes good use of the musical style by creating tension in the fist six stanzas like many musical pieces and then like music; the poem speeds up giving a dramatic effect "Copper's whistle! ...read more.


Both poems show you racism and its effects on people and Hughes and Soyinka aren't just writing about their personal experiences but also showing you that these things happened to many black people. The two poets write their poems in different ways, using different techniques, which give the poems their originality and identity. Soyinka uses humour to illustrate the ignorance of the landlady and shows how stupid she is when she does not pick up on the sarcasm until the end: ' "Foolishly, madam - by sitting down, has turned My bottom raven black...." ' This humour makes the poem more interesting and indulging. Hughes uses the element of music to make his poem fast, upbeat and enjoyable to read. The musical beat compliments the stanzas in which the character is facing a hard ordeal with his landlord. The hardship shown by the poets made me think how unjust and prejudice our forefathers were to blacks from slavery to not letting them get adequate housing in the western world. Hughes summed it up with the way the police treated his character with such efficiency and how harsh the jail sentence is for being a little assertive. The two poets illustrate the everyday hardships which black people faced and still do is some parts of the world and that may make us a bit more assertive with our actions and their effects on people. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Ted Hughes section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Ted Hughes essays

  1. Using a Selection of 20th Century Poems Compare and Contrast the Treatment of ...

    They are mostly about the beauty of the nature there. For example in lines 7 and 8 it says "And to realise once more my thousand dreams, Of waters rushing down the mountain passes". It is like he is remembering what life was like when he used to live there.

  2. Using two or three poems which you have read explore the ways in which ...

    Hughes is laughing at the white people complaining about not being black, "I'm so ashamed of being white," also at the democratic process and him self. He uses satirical humour at the dinner party by poking at establishment. He acknowledges that "I know I am the Negro Problem" and is aware they have to be polite about him.

  1. In a close reading of 'The Thought-Fox' and 'Roe-Deer', discuss how he uses, the ...

    The password again indicates that there is a sort of secret society of nature, making the confrontation seem magical, mystical and enchanting. 'the curtain had blown aside for a moment And there where the trees were no longer trees, nor the road a road' This is when both worlds overlap and all the boundaries & roads seem to disappear.

  2. "Hughes thinks more highly of animals than humans." How far does his poetry support ...

    "Like a mammoth of the ice" this line reminds us that animals have been on this earth longer and yet we think that we rule it and can do to it what we please. He also describes the farmers, who think they control the animals, as being really uncomfortable and

  1. A Critical Comparison Of Ted Hughes Poems: The Stag And Roe-Deer.

    "deerhood" is a use of personification of the word manhood, it is a coined word, and it enables the reader to see the Deer and Man as being on an equal footing. By using the word "screen" to describe the snow we are reminded that the man is in a

  2. Examine the significance and treatment of the natural world in the poetry of one ...

    Both poets have found something beautiful in what they are writing about. However Hughes after writing about the beauty, prefers to contrast it with the darker side of the natural world. The horror of the pikes cannibalism when placed in a group of three pikes 'behind glass' can relate to

  1. Compare and Contrast a 20th Century and non-20th Century Animal Poem

    I know that it takes the form of iambic pentameter because there are ten syllables in every line and they fall in pairs of stressed and unstressed. I think that the regularity of this poem is symbolic of how these 'great hulks' of shire horses would come out at the

  2. How does Ted Hughes convey the ruthless power and violence in animals through the ...

    In "Hawk Roosting" Ted Hughes uses forceful words such as "tearing", "death", etc. the cruelty of the hawk is brought out in the poem. The poem is a very strong one. The cruelty the two animals bring out in each poem is shown from the description of the way they kill.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work